Monday, 14 November 2011

Beasts: Special Offer

Noreen (Pauline Quirke) is rather an unfortunate young woman. Apart from her awful name, she is overweight, myopic, spotty, lank, clumsy, socially inept and shit at applying make up. Her father is dead, her mother is an invalid, and she works in Briteway, a low grade supermarket run by a lecherous, bullying manager who thinks she is a 'stupendous, giant sized unrepeatable drag' and wants her out of his shop a.s.a.p. Unfortunately for him, Noreen is not only in love with him, but is in possession of latent psychic powers that are about to be unleashed upon his crappy, cut rate domain in the most surprising way.

'Special Offer' was the opening episode of Nigel Kneale's 'Beasts', a six part ITV series that presented a series of unrelated stories loosely themed around the title. Kneale being Kneale, of course, the beasts are seldom from the animal kingdom and are, in some cases, merely the scapegoats for havoc caused by darker and far more complex forces.

This episode is notable for all sorts of reasons, but is especially recommended for Quirke's dopey, lumpy, deadly Noreen, for some excellent E.S.P special effects (peas popping in refrigerators; washing up liquid bottles springing leaks; exploding milk bottles, etc.) as well as giving us a number of long, lingering nostalgic looks at the brand names and packaging of yesteryear. Beware, though, you will end up fancying a tin of Coq au Vin 'Cook In Sauce'.     

1 comment:

  1. If there's an afterlife, and if there's television in the afterlife, it wont be today's shit modern programmes, it will be Nigel Kneale's Beasts.

    Failing that; I'd settle for a job haunting a 1976 Briteway store.